• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Is Durban Worth A Visit – 7 Insider Things To Do in Durban

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After the New York Times included Durban at #7 on its list of 52 Places to Go in 2015, and CNN dubbed it ‘the coolest city in South Africa you’ve never seen‘, it was only time before the city with a Cinderella-complex came of age.

Then Mercer released its 2015 Quality of Living survey results and ranked Durban higher than Cape Town and Johannesburg, as the South African city with the highest quality of life. Suddenly the world’s attention shifted to the country’s east coast.

That was over-and-above the global vote of confidence for Durban as one of the New7Wonders Cities – up there with Beirut, Doha, Havana, Kuala Lumpur, La Paz and Vigan – the world’s latest urban hot spots.

Durban is reeling with the attention… Continued

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Cape Towns Big 7 – If You Haven’t Done Them, You Haven’t Lived

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Cape Towns Big 7 have nothing to do with animals…

The city has not suddenly acquired direct access to lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo, great white shark and southern right whales – although southern right whales, sharks, seals and penguins you can find within the city’s parameters.

Instead, Cape Towns Big 7 is about seven unmissable things to do in Cape Town. The city has always had a Big 6 list of major tourist attractions, but to that it has added a city walk, embracing the idea of multi-purpose, liveable streets that focus on pedestrians.

Most of the Big 7 need little by way of introduction – they’re the reason people come to Cape Town. But the new City Walk adds a delightfully tactile element as it explores the heart of the city bowl on foot, its architecture, public spaces, art and storytelling woven through the route as a means to evoke community spirit.

There is no one way to explore the Big 7. Choose where you start, how you explore, and for how long. But for any visitor to the Mother City, a visit would be incomplete without their inclusion… Continued

Friday, 26 February 2016

Stitching The Dragon’s Tail – South Africas Great 8 Passes Challenge

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Imagine driving the highest navigable mountain pass in the country, enjoying wild and unspoilt countryside with views to match, skiing the slopes of Ben Macdhui and then passing down the other side of the mountain into one of the country’s prettiest and most historical villages …

No, you do not have to head into the Alps of Switzerland, or the Scottish Highlands. Such a challenge exists right here, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Known as the 8 Passes Challenge, or Stitching the Dragon’s Tail, the navigation of eight mountain passes in the southernmost section of the Drakensberg Mountains (the tail of the Dragon) is the ultimate 4×4 driving experience.

Driving these mountain tops in some of the country’s least populated areas gives you access to vistas usually the reward of hikers who have persevered into virtually unnavigable parts of these mountains. The good news: you do not need a 4×4 vehicle to drive the passes. A good 2×4 with a high clearance can manage most of the passes, bar Bastervoetpad, which is a challenge even for the hardcore 4×4 enthusiast… Continued

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Art In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town – 7 Best Galleries and Museums

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Cape Town’s City Bowl may hold some of the most acclaimed art museums and galleries in the country, but places like the Iziko South African National Art Gallery, AVA Gallery, Johans Borman Fine Art, The New Church Museum, Erdmann Contemporary, Carmel Art and Cape Gallery do not hold the monopoly.

Art is as happening in the mother city’s southern suburbs.

One has only to turn to Woodstock (though not all that far south, a suburb of Cape Town nonetheless) to That Art Fair, on at The Palms Centre in Woodstock from the 17 February 2016.

That Art Fair presents a three week line-up of exhibitions and events that include a wide range of disciplines with visual art, performance art, photography, video and film and even fashion featured in the line-up. Find out more on thatartfair.com

That Art Fair, initiated by Art Africa magazine, focuses on young, unrepresented contemporary African artists. This is its second year.

7 other places to see art in the southern suburbs of Cape Town … Continued

Monday, 15 February 2016

10 Reasons Rhodes Should Be On Your Bucket List Of Towns To Visit In South Africa

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Rhodes is a fairytale type village perched in amongst the mountains where time seems, literally, to stand still. Fringed by mountains, fresh air and the calls of swallows and red-chested cuckoos, the unique Victorian-style tin roofed homes, hotel and shops remain as a delightful holiday retreat for those who can be bothered to get there.

Because, if you haven’t already visited Rhodes then no-one has explained that you don’t simply ‘drop in’ to the 1821 metres above sea level village in the highlands of the Drakensberg. Half the adventure involves getting there. If you are a 4×4 enthusiast then a visit to Rhodes is even more intrepid than it sounds because there are eight mountain passes in the area.

(Note: not all eight passes lead to Rhodes, but you can reach most of them from Rhodes, give or take a few detours. The recommended passage to Rhodes is via the gravel R396 from Barkly East).

Admittedly not all eight passes are equal. Only one of them is tarred (Barkly Pass), whilst others, like Bastervoetpad, make challenging driving and a third, Naude’s Nek, is the highest navigable (for a standard sedan) dirt mountain pass in the country, reaching a summit of 2920 metres above sea level and incorporating some of the most incredible scenery in South Africa. Continued

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Offbeat Route 56 – Take The Alternative Route Through The Transkei

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Route 56 is a surprisingly well-maintained, provincial route that links Middleburg in the Eastern Cape, with Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu Natal. On the map it looks as though someone has taken a crayon and drawn a squiggly line east, north east through the country.

Marketed as the ‘shortest route’ between the Western Cape and Durban, the route’s main leverage is that it is a viable alternative to the N2 through the Transkei. It passes through the mountain country of Lesotho, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal connecting Molteno, Maclear and Kokstad.

Calling it ‘short’ is a little misleading. It may be shorter in terms of kilometres, but the nature of the roads through the mountains mean that you take it slower. You can easily add three hours to your journey, but they’re hours well spent in terms of scenery and escaping the N2. Continued

Monday, 8 February 2016

6 Marine Protected Areas in South Africa

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South Africa protects just under 25 areas of its 3 000 km coastline. Known as marine protected areas (MPA), they safeguard threatened marine species and important habitats.

What they are, in essence, is a space in the ocean that strictly regulates human activities. Kind of like nature reserves, but in the sea.

To succeed as conservation areas of South Africa’s marine resources involves collaboration between civil society, communities and government… Continued

Friday, 5 February 2016

West Coast National Park’s Turquoise Blue Lagoon

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And other reasons to visit the West Coast National Park…

The West Coast National Park, for most people, is all about the spring flowers.

From the beginning of August Capetonians, or visitors to Cape Town who haven’t the time to drive all the way to Springbok to see the Namaqualand daisies drive out in their droves to drink in the valleys and sand dunes of the reserve – literally awash with colour.

Postberg nature reserve, that part of the reserve on the other side of the Postberg (the mountain on the edge of the Langebaan Lagoon) that is usually closed, opens specially for the flowers.

At other times of the year the West Coast National Park seems to languish, like a strumpet whose skirts have long been explored. As if there was nothing other than flowers to attract visitors. Continued

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Five Places To See The Cape Mountain Zebra

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The zebra is an African equid found on the grassy plains of Africa’s game reserves. It’s a common herbivore found in great numbers, which means it rarely gets much attention. Particularly if there is the chance of spotting any of the Big Five.

A zebra is a zebra, is a zebra…But is it?

There are three species of zebra – Burchell’s (Equus burchelli), Grevy’s (Equus grevyi) and Mountain zebras (Equus zebra) – all of them characterised by wide horizontal black and white stripes.

The function of these stripes is still open to debate. Some people think it’s camouflage, whilst others site a socialisation function by which zebras are drawn to one another, to the exclusion of any non-striped equids (horses, asses).

The Cape mountain zebra is different from the other two species, however…. Continued

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

2016 Travel Trends That Will Define Tourism In South Africa

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The spate of terrorist attacks that rocked the world in 2015 may mean that north Africa and Paris are off the travel menu for a while. But rather than resulting in a dip in worldwide travel, things appear to be just the opposite.

People have had to curtail their travel for a number of years due to world-wide financial strain and, whilst the rand is at a record low in South Africa – exacerbated by the recent juggle of finance ministers – in other parts of the world currencies are strengthening and people are looking to 2016 as a year of adventure and long distance travel.

These 2016 travel trends could sharply define South Africa’s tourism … Continued

Monday, 18 January 2016

Mountain Zebra National Park – 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit

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Most people I speak to haven’t heard of Mountain Zebra National Park. The park is one of the country’s lesser known hideaways, and those in the know would rather keep it that way.

For some reason people fail to imagine mountains and zebras together (for most of us, zebras belong on the grassy plains of the Kruger National Park, or Serengeti). And when I then mention that the park is close to Cradock in the Karoo, there is further bafflement: yes, there are mountains in the Karoo!

Mountain Zebra National Park falls under the SANParks banner, one of twenty odd national parks in the country. It lies on Route 61, 12 km outside Cradock in the Eastern Cape. From Cape Town it’s a good nine hour journey along either the N1and R61, or N2 and N9, which you can do in one stretch, but I’d advise breaking the journey for comfort’s sake.

Its appeal lies in its beauty, rather than its animal checklist… Continued

Monday, 21 December 2015

7 Wilderness Areas In South Africa You Probably Don’t Know About

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Wilderness areas are the most intact, undisturbed, truly wild spaces left on the planet…

They are unaffected by any development and many, if not all of them, practice the highest level of conservation – legally protected and untouched by man. There are no roads, vehicles, houses or industry in these areas.

In short: wilderness areas are the only places left in which man can develop a true relationship with nature, if he wants to. South Africa is the only country in Africa with such a rich variety of parks, reserves and wilderness areas.

The first wilderness area (now the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park) was designated in South Africa in 1959 – 12 150 hectares in which all form of motor traffic was stopped and rangers and visitors were allowed in the area only on foot. Soon afterwards the St Lucia Wilderness Area, now in the northern section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site, followed.

The country only introduced legislation to protect formal Wilderness Areas In South Africa in 2003. Continued

Thursday, 17 December 2015

The 7 Most Beautiful Places In South Africa You Probably Didn’t Know Existed

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There is a danger in thinking that every little bit of South Africa has been discovered. There are actually some beautiful places, and areas, that a few people know about, but not everyone.

These 7 most beautiful places in South Africa are worth knowing about.

Visit them if you can … Continued

Monday, 14 December 2015

‘Big Five’ Multi-Day Hikes in South Africa

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South Africa is one of the world’s best hiking destinations…

The weather is fantastic, the country’s infrastructure is excellent, the scenery is out of this world and the ‘backcountry’, or outback, areas in which to hike – the Cederberg, the Drakensberg, the Wild Coast, the Dolphin Coast, and Amatola (to name but a few) – are of the most beautiful on the planet.

South Africa also has exceptional wilderness areas – areas dedicated to remaining truly wild spaces; intact and undisturbed by man – around the country that include: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Wolkberg, Winterhoek, Mkhomazi, Ntendeka, Groendal and the Cederberg. Each of these is ideal for days of off-the-beaten-track tramping specially for those for whom marked hiking trails are anathema.

Our hikes, although well known amongst locals, have taken a while to draw the crowds. Now people travel specially to South Africa to join the Otter or Whale Trail, or to hike one of the Kruger Park’s Wilderness Trails.

Here are the ‘Big Five’ multi-day hikes in South Africa that rank up there with the best in the world. One or two of them are relatively new and deserve attention, the others are, without doubt, the country’s favourites… Continued

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Walks in the Wild – 7 Kruger Wilderness Trails

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Wilderness trails are one of the only true ways to experience the essence of nature. They imply an escape into the great beyond, a following of your heart, rather than any designated paths. They necessitate the absence of people, society and the noise and bombardment that come with it.

Wilderness trails in the bush are totally unique to the African continent. Those who walk them claim they are the only way to know Africa. For once you have done a wilderness trail in the Kruger National Park, there is only one way to be in the bush, and that is to walk it.

There is, however, a proviso… Continued